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JackJD
JackJD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 535
Experience:  I've been in practice for 30+ years, concentrating in family and employment law. I enjoy helping people.
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Have a question about child support in Illinois. Does Child

Customer Question

Have a question about child support in Illinois. Does Child Support include the following or is it a separate issue? School registration fees, tutoring expenses, expenses for college testing and preparatory classes, school supplies, school functions and activities - dances?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JackJD replied 5 years ago.

JackJD :

Hello, my name is Jack, and I'd like to answer your question.

JackJD :

Child support payments discharges completely the legal obligation of the payor parent. Unless the support decree states otherwise, or the parties agree otherwise, the payor parent has no legal obligation for any "extras."

JackJD :

This includes school extra-curricular activities such as sports or dances. College is not an obligation, so neither is college testing or preparatory classes.

JackJD :

In theory, these extras are not obligatory on any parent, whether there's a support order in place or not. Thus, its the decision of the custodial parent whether the child participates in any of these activities.

JackJD :

Of course, many, many separated or divorced parents get together and make joint decisions about what activities the child will participate in, and often these decisions include an agreement about sharing the costs.

JackJD :

Have I completely answered your question, or would you like to ask a follow-up?

Customer :

One quick question.............do most parents agree to pay the extra costs or do they fight to pay? Feel guilty if I don't pay but financial I'm strapped and being nickel and dimed to death.

JackJD :

So your the payor parent, and you feel you're "being nickeled and dimed to death? My question is, does the custodial parent consult with you about just what extra-curricular activities the child is signed up for?

JackJD :

If you are being consulted, and you are agreeing that, lets say, tutoring, is something that should be done, its my feeling that a discussion about who pays what is reasonable.

JackJD :

If, on the other hand, the custodial parent is making all the decisions, and then demanding that you fork out for the extra-curricular activities, I feel that is unreasonable. And, that's not what the law says.

JackJD :

Does it say anything in your divorce decree about responsibility for these extras?

Customer :

Never used to, however now we have to discuss the activity and have a certain amount of time to pay my portion (1/2). We never had it in writing that I was due to pay half. In the past I always paid child support and EVERYTHING she ever gave me to pay, not realizing that some of the cost should have been covered in child support. Now they want to state that I have to pay half of what I listed above.

JackJD :

If it doesn't say something different in your decree, your legal obligation is to pay the support amount, period.

Customer :

The divorce settlement was done when the children were roughly 5 and 3 years old and it never stated anything about educational costs, etc. We've never had another settlement regarding the issue either.

JackJD :

As I said before, many divorced parents make an agreement about contributing to extras. But that's entirely voluntary on your part. The law is that your last decree continues to control.

JackJD :

[I suspect that, if this support calculation is this old - ten years or more - it may be modifiable just because both parties incomes have changed over time. Not to mention, there is a different table for twelve years old and above.]

Customer :

One child will be 15 years old this September and wants to move from Illinois to California to live with me. Does he have any say in the decision because of his age?

JackJD :

He doesn't have an 'official' say; but many judges would be interested in his desires (and his reasons for them), because of his age. As a practical matter, older teens can just vote with their feet. But, there wouldn't be a change in the child support calculation unless his move was agreed to or otherwise sanctioned by the court.